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Yacht designer Tim Heywood

Yacht designer Tim Heywood

In many ways we have similar tastes. We both have silver hair, E-type Jaguars and Aston Martins, and have owned Porsche 928s. This might add credence to the fact that we both prefer to design yachts with full-bodied curves.

The inspiration for Tim’s radical curved forms comes, I believe, from his love of the American customised car scene, which is full of amazing individual talent rarely recognised outside the US. He has a passion for cars that probably goes back to his schooldays – indeed, the schoolboy is still within him as he possesses an amazing Scalectrix car race track where he still plays with radio-controlled cars that even have headlamps.

As far as I know he is not a mad hobbyist (although he likes to ski), but that is hardly surprising bearing in mind his volume of work as a one-man band. I rest easy in knowing he is a bigger workaholic than me!

Tim and his lady love and business partner, Vanessa, have been together for nearly 20 years and are always ready for a good laugh even though they are thoroughly professional.

Creatively, Tim is afraid of nothing and will often conceptualise ideas that bewilder shipyards. Often these ideas are met with ‘we think that is a problem.’ Tim’s answer, like mine, which JB taught us, is always: ‘That’s not a problem – consider it a challenge.’

Tim is afraid of nothing and will often conceptualise ideas that bewilder shipyards

If I dare to venture into gossip, one of the best stories is of Tim and Andrew Winch being entertained by the owner’s wife on a JB project prior to the owner’s arrival. Declaring that dinner that night would be very informal, she asked them to freshen up in their cabins and return for the meal in their dressing gowns. Tim, fearing an orgy coming on, said to Andrew: ‘Should we keep our underpants on?’ The evening consisted of chicken and chips in a silver basket – no more!

Bannenberg liked a calm ambience in the studio and would always play classical music, but as soon as he left for a respite or meeting Tim would put on some serious R&B by George Benson. He possesses a wicked sense of humour which helps to take the stresses out of a project and keeps the team focused.

Bannenberg never really had a legacy that encouraged Tim to stay and be the JB figurehead, which disappointed him, especially after his many years of hard work. In 1996, he left to seek his fortune as a freelance designer, and clearly he has not looked back.

Originally published: Boat International Jubilee Special 2008.

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